We’re very pleased to be welcoming two new members of staff this summer – Rick and Stacey. A keen horserider, Stacey went into farriery after leaving school but soon branched out into other areas of metalwork including blacksmithing and jewellery, until she discovered a passion for historic pieces and ended up on the metalwork conservation course at West Dean. Stacey spent some time at Ironart a couple of years ago and we were impressed by her work on the Bartlett Street restoration project we had on at the time (read about it here: http://ironart.co.uk/bartlett-street-overthrow-restoration-2/ So as soon as she finished at West Dean we were glad to have her back and are sure she’ll be a great asset to the team.
Although he started off as a chef, Rick quickly made the natural transition (?) to welding and spent many years building boats in Wiltshire. He has a strong background in several areas of metalwork, including a spell in a 2CV restoration workshop so he’s certainly had a good training in the art of dismantling and reassembling intricate component parts. In his spare time, Rick plays the synthesiser he built for himself, enforcing his ‘sonic mayhem’ on his patient family (1 wife 3 daughters).
Our clients in Blagdon were looking for a unique balustrade to complement their new staircase, something dynamic and contemporary in design but with solid, firmly traditional construction, emulating the sinuous quality of the staircase. We think the final piece is a striking addition to what will be a beautiful home once finished.
Well, June has come and gone and we did manage to get back to a few of the gardens where we’ve recently installed ironwork – just to see how it’s all looking with the gardens in full flower. In Doynton, the Allium Gates are settling in particularly well – a fitting reflection of the idea of ‘bounteousness’ that inspired them – and hopefully fulfilling their chief purpose of keeping that muntjac out …
It’s always good to be out in the garden in June, especially when we’re installing a magnificent gazebo like this – which is just perfect for the spot that’s been lovingly prepared for it. It’s a great feeling when all the component parts that have been carefully crafted in the workshop come together perfectly on-site, particularly when the finished piece looks immediately at home as it does here.
June 1967 – Sgt Pepper had just been released, Aretha Franklin’s Respect was at number one, protests against the Vietnam War were at their height … and as the first cash machine appeared on the streets of London, over in Bath a metal workshop called Ironart opened its doors for business.
Sam Chantry, the original owner, made some of the classic Bath ironwork that you see around you today, including railings, gates and balconies at the likes of the Royal Crescent, the Theatre Royal and further afield at Bowood House. Our very own Luke worked for Chantry as a teenager and sometimes finds himself revisiting the ironwork he helped to install all those years ago.
And 50 years later in June 2017 here will still are, on the same site in Larkhall, doing what we do best – making beautiful bespoke ironwork that will adorn your homes and gardens for another 50 years – at least…
We bid a fond farewell to Ted and Mary this week as both are off on new adventures. Ted is taking on the dry dock of a boatyard in Bradford on Avon, and Mary will be exploring various artistic ventures via Glastonbury and a seaweed farm in Ireland, finally ending up on an organic farm in Somerset. Luckily there’s a forge on-site …
Here they are with the whole team (minus Alan who is motor-biking around Norway) just before departure.
We had a great time at the Royal Crescent foundation stone celebration on Sunday. Sunshine, sandwiches, plenty of willing helpers to pump the bellows and lots of nice people to talk to … And most importantly the opportunity to show how the finials on the Royal Crescent railings would have been made 250 years ago (except that perhaps the bellows wouldn’t have been quite so leaky). James even had his moment of fame on BBC Points West!
From the initial design brief – based on the concept of ‘bounteousness’ – to final installation, these ‘allium’ gates for a vegetable garden in Doynton have proved a challenge and delight in equal measure. Our client wanted the design to reflect the bounty of nature which immediately prompted the idea of a swelling onion bulb. Once the design had been refined in collaboration with the clients, each aspect was hand-crafted in our workshop, where the onion leaves were forged in the fire in the traditional manner and bent into shape. We were thrilled to receive this message a few days after installation:
“I finally got to see the gates properly yesterday and we are absolutely delighted with them. You and the team have put a huge amount of ingenuity and creativity into producing an amazing feature and talking point for our garden. We wait to see what the muntjac will make of it – they are resourceful little critters!”
As ever, we left site without being able to capture the gates in their full glory when the garden is at its most bounteous, but we look forward to sharing more images in the summer months.